Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Two seafood processors on the South Shore landed some big money recently.
The two companies are among 11 in western Nova Scotia to receive a total of $4,850,984 from the federal government, as part of its $62.5 million Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF) announced in April, 2020.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan announced the news about the local processors on March 17.
In Queens County, Captain Little Seafood Ltd. in Port Mouton is receiving a $500,000 loan and in Lunenburg County, High Liner Foods Incorporated landed a grant of $404,092.
"As the daughter of a fish-plant worker, I know how critical seafood processors are to our local economies here in Nova Scotia, and all across Canada. When the pandemic hit, an immediate priority of our government was getting the processing sector the support it needed to keep workers safe and adapt to changing consumer demands," Jordan, who is the MP for South Shore-St. Margaret's, said in a news release.
Annually, Canada's ocean industries contribute about $31.7 billion to Canada's GDP.
Steven Shi is the manager of Captain Little Seafood Ltd. The company opened its doors in 2015 and is a fish and lobster exporter whose main market is Asia. It employs 26 full- and part-time employees.
The 2020 season was a tough one for them, according to Shi.
"In early 2020, as cities and countries issued stay-at-home orders, we experienced extremely weak demand for live lobster. At times, live lobster sales almost came to a halt," he said in an email, adding that the live lobster market is highly volatile and unpredictable.
Shi said the repayable loan will be used to expand the company's long-term live lobster holding capacity by adding two refrigerated tanks. It will also purchase more lobster holding equipment and make improvements to its building and equipment for better energy efficiency and productivity.
"After the upgrade, the company will be better positioned to weather adverse market conditions," said Shi.
LighthouseNOW reached out to High Liner for a comment, however the company did not respond before deadline.
According to a news release, however, the money received was expected to go toward COVID-19 health and safety modifications to its processing and manufacturing lines.